Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is dismissing reports of a construction freeze in his city.
The Obama administration has been demanding Israel freeze construction in Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem to coax Palestinians back to negotiations. But Barkat said he has told U.S. officials about his plans for new construction projects.
"What I did say to the administration is that I hope that nobody is actually hinting that a freeze will happen, or I hope that nobody's hinting that the freeze should be only to the Jewish people, population of Jerusalem as this would be illegal both in Israel and anti-constitutional in most democratic countries in the world," Barkat said.
Barkat also said he anticipates building some 50,000 apartments in Jerusalem over the next 20 years for both Jewish and Arab residents of the city.